by Brian Dooley
THE findings of a Gallup poll on AIDS suggest that nearly one third of the population believe that the Church should not be doing anything to combat the spread of the virus. The report, which was commissioned by the BBC, found that although the general awareness level is increasing, some ignorance and misunderstanding remains.
Of those who did express an opinion on what the Church's role should be, most believed it should take a stronger stand on its traditional moral teaching. Others suggested the encouragement of the use of condoms and that the Church should be less judgemental and moralistic.
Nearly two-thirds thought that schools should be educating children on the hard facts of AIDS, informing them clearly on the risks and causes of the disease.
The poll also highlighted the depth, if not the quantity, of ignorance. 13 per cent of all women questioned did not understand what was meant by the word 'condom'.
Those in the older age group bracket (65 or over) seemed to be less informed than the 16-24 year-olds, although 7 per cent of this younger age group did not understand the term "bisexual".
The report concluded that "There is a need for more precise, detailed information" and that although there are also "some signs of tiredness of the AIDS issue... there would appear to be considerable tolerance of the necessary explicitness for conveying such information".